Kenta Maeda was in an early groove Tuesday night and backed with run support, the Los Angeles Dodgers were closing in on a series victory against the Philadelphia Phillies.
Maeda retired the first 11 batters faced before allowing a two-out single to Odubel Herrera in the fourth inning. He stranded Herrera, lost a shutout in the fifth on Nick Williams’ solo home run, and stranded another base hit in the sixth inning.
The Dodgers held a 4-1 lead when Maeda took the mound for the start of the bottom of the seventh. It began with a leadoff single and spiraled out of control from there.
Maikel Franco’s RBI double cut the Dodgers’ lead in half, and even with that, Maeda retired the next two batters. But Jorge Alfaro delivered a game-tying home run before the inning came to a close.
Following the loss, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts explained why he allowed for Maeda to remain in the game, via Andy McCullough of the L.A. Times:
“It’s not a computer game,” Roberts said. “You have to watch the game, too. If he’s throwing the ball well, you don’t just say ‘He’s out of the game.’”
Compounding the fact that Maeda was unable to protect the lead, the Dodgers and Phillies went on to play 16 innings. Los Angeles used all seven of their available relief pitchers (Caleb Ferguson was unavailable) and ended the night with Kiké Hernandez on the mound.
He became the first full-time position player in MLB history to surrender a walk-off home run.
As for Maeda, it was the fourth time this season he completed at least seven innings. The four earned runs allowed were his most since giving up three to the Chicago Cubs in just 3.2 innings pitched at Wrigley Field on June 19.
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